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The Top 150 Global Licensors

This comprehensive guide to the world’s largest licensors, which represent $259.9 billion in retail sales of licensed merchandise worldwide, provides retail sales data and trends for licensors in the entertainment, sports, fashion/apparel, corporate, art and non-profit sectors.


The Top 150 Global Licensors report once again exemplifies the breadth and scope of brand licensing and tells the tale of the opposite stories of continued growth at The Walt Disney Company, the world's largest licensor, down to the new "kid" on the list, Bethany Mota, who represents the new generation of YouTube celebrities.

Disney reported $45.2 billion in total retail sales of licensed products worldwide, a significant increase of almost 10 percent ($4.3 billion) over 2013, driven by the success of its newest franchises Frozen and Guardians of the Galaxy, and Avengers. On the other end, Mota cracked the Top 150 at No. 146 with $80 million in retail sales, the very first time a digital star has entered the report. (See story "Bethany Mota: The First YouTuber to Crack the Top 150 ".) It's a key trend to watch over the next several years as more and more multi-channel network and digital celebrities not only enter the business of brand licensing, but also join the Top 150.

There are 18 new licensors that join the list this year and represent a combined total of almost $5 billion in retail sales of licensed merchandise in 2014. They include Technicolor, Endemol Shine Group, German Football Association, Bromelia Produçoes, Volkswagen, m4e, DHX Media, Eric Carle Studio, Condé Nast, Jane Seymour Designs, Gold's Gym, Smithsonian, 4K Media, Rodale, Bethany Mota, Minor League Baseball, 41 Entertainment and Art Licensing International.

The Top 150 Global Licensors accounted for $259.9 billion in retail sales of licensed products worldwide in 2014 versus $251.8 billion in 2013. Disney accounted for slightly more than half of this increase in retail sales.

The Top 10 Global Licensors reported an increase in retail sales of more than $131.4 billion in 2014, up from $126.9 billion in 2013 and $112 billion in 2012. The Top 10 global licensors now account for slightly more than 50 percent of overall retail sales.

A noteworthy change is Hasbro's movement upwards, climbing to No. 10 over Collegiate Licensing, which dropped to No. 11.

A total of 59 global licensors reported retail sales of $1 billion or more, the same number as in 2013, representing $232.3 billion or almost 90 percent of total retail sales. Two licensors–FremantleMedia and Sony Pictures Entertainment–dropped out of the Top 150 Billion Dollar Club, while two joined–Technicolor and PGA Tour.

Conversely, there are 75 licensors reporting $500 million in retail sales of licensed merchandise worldwide or less, and 40 licensors reporting $200 million or less in retail sales.

With the additional licensors included in the ranking this year, License! Global has chosen to extend the list, rather than limit it to 150. This will actually set the direction for next year to extend the list officially to the Top 175 Global Licensors. The expansion will qualify more licensors for the report, dropping the retail cutoff from $40 million to around $25 million. The goal is not to limit the report by any measurement, but to accurately demonstrate the scope of global brand licensing worldwide.

As readers peruse this report, some of the rankings may run counter to common brand perceptions. Some licensors may appear to have higher retail sales numbers than readers might believe, while other licensors may have much higher numbers yet do not appear on the list. The fact is, this is not a brand perception or popularity report, but rather a sales and trend report based on information submitted directly to License! Global by each licensor.

* All global licensors and/or licensing agents submitted retail sales figures, which are based on worldwide retail sales of licensed merchandise in 2014, unless otherwise noted. International sales figures were converted according to the most recent exchange rates at press time. License! Global consults various industry sources, financial documents, annual reports, et al and relies on the fiduciary responsibility of each company for accuracy. All companies are public except as otherwise noted as Private or Non Profit. The Top 150 Global Licensors Report is copyrighted and cannot be used without the written permission of License! Global and UBM Advanstar.


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